March 2, 2007

Romantic Story #107 [1970]

Ditko drew only a handful of romance comics in his career, though oddly enough one of them includes what may be his first published story (DARING LOVE #1 [1953]). Another few are as much horror stories, appearing in HAUNTED LOVE. But this one, the 7-page "Nothing But Tears" from ROMANTIC STORY #107 [1970] is pretty much a straight romance, so straight as to be boring. A young girl moves from Pennsylvania to New York City to pursue her dreams of a modelling career, only to find that her three month modelling course didn't prepare her for reality. And no, I'm not sure what kind of models are hired for bar mitzvahs, either. Bonus points for Ditko including the unwashed hippies straight out of one of his fanzine morality play things. Anyway, Mona ends up taking a job washing dishes, and having trouble keeping that when she gets sick, and accidentally walks into traffic in her fevered state. Fortunately the guy who hit her, the impossibly clean-cut Roy Damion, ends up being her saviour, as he has his older cousin Mrs. Pollack nurse Mona back to health while he's off on business, and then gets her a job as a receptionist and eventually marries her.
You know, with most of the Ditko stories from Charlton being horror and ghost stories, I kept waiting for a twist while reading this, Damion being the leader of some sort of cult or something. The story certainly needed it. Serviceable job by Ditko, with a few nice touches on some of the incidental bits (the hippies, the other woman at the "modelling agency", the by-stander at the accident who suggests she get a lawyer). Doesn't make me that anxious to track down the other Ditko romances of the era. Anyone think any of these are worth getting:

TIME FOR LOVE #13 [1969]
I LOVE YOU #91 [1971]
HAUNTED LOVE #4 [1973]
HAUNTED LOVE #5 [1973]

"Nothing But Tears" D-47


  1. Personally I think they're kinda fun, and I even wrote an article on Ditko's war, romance and western work of the period for Charlton. I think I submitted it to Charlton Spotlight (my memory is really going - I don't THINK it's been published yet!). I found it interesting that until a few years ago many of these
    romance stories were not even accounted for - makes me wonder if there might be one or two others that escaped our radar?

    Nick Caputo

  2. Yeah, I should have mentioned that there could very well be a lot more out there. The ad for Charlton's romance line in this issue lists a full dozen titles they had going at the time, which is pretty amazing.



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